Panther Hollow Lake is Doing Its Job

Panther Hollow Lake is full, 13 August 2021 (photo by Kate St. John)

16 August 2021

When I walked around (pond-sized) Panther Hollow Lake in Schenley Park last Friday, I had to dodge high water. On Saturday I expected to see the same water level, or even higher, but it had dropped significantly. Panther Hollow Lake is doing its job.

Panther Hollow Lake has a smart valve governed by the solar-powered weather instrument in the photo below. The smart valve knows the weather forecast and closes during heavy rain events to hold back fresh water that otherwise flows into Pittsburgh’s combined sewer system. After the danger has passed and before the next storm the valve slowly releases water to provide room in the lake for the next downpour. Thus Panther Hollow Lake prevents downstream flooding in The Run neighborhood.

At normal water level three concrete steps edging the pond are exposed. On Friday 13 August all but the top step were hidden (above) and some walkways were flooded (below).

High water. Level is controlled by solar-powered instrument, 13 Aug 2021 (photo by Kate St. John)
High water. A single concrete step at the cattails, 13 August 2021 (photo by Kate St. John)

When I returned 24 hours later the water was lower and all three steps were exposed. Here are the same three scenes on Saturday 14 August.

Panther Hollow Lake is lower, 14 August 2021 (photo by Kate St. John)
Water no longer floods the walkway, 14 August 2021 (photo by Kate St. John)
Three steps at the cattails, 14 August 2021 (photo by Kate St. John)

Today’s forecast calls for thunderstorms with potentially heavy rain. Panther Hollow Lake is ready. The smart valve is doing its job.

p.s. Panther Hollow Lake’s concrete steps will be removed during the Four Mile Run Stormwater Project that will change the lake significantly! Click here to read about the project.

(photos by Kate St. John)

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